Open Letter to Melania Trump

Open Letter to Melania Trump

Dear Mrs. Trump,

I speak for many of us Catholics from around America who want you to know we are so happy for you!

We watched you in Rome with the pope and with the children at Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital. We thank you for your tender love for children, and your desire to show respect and love for the Holy Father. It was obvious you cherish your Catholic faith. This was so uplifting for all of us.

It has been reported that you are a “Practicing Catholic.” Wonderful! Wouldn’t it be glorious if so many Catholics who have fallen away from the practice of their Catholic faith found inspiration in you?

I, as a Catholic priest, would like to offer my humble advice for you, as you have this opportunity, now, to truly impact so many people who have wandered away from their faith.

So, let’s look at the meaning of “Practicing Catholic.” It really is not that demanding to stay true to this simple checklist, and I am assuming you are already doing all of these …

A Practicing Catholic is one who …

  • Observes the Ten Commandments
  • Assents to Church teaching
  • Follows the Precepts of the Church

Precepts of the Church

The Precepts of the Catholic Church are a description of the absolute minimum actions required of Catholics regarding the Church.

The Church uses these precepts to remind us that Christian life requires a commitment to prayer and active participation in the liturgy and sacraments. If we fall below this bare-minimum level, we can’t rightly consider ourselves to be in full communion with the Catholic Church (Practicing Catholic).

Each of these precepts of the Catholic Church is a requirement. Together with the Ten Commandments and assent to Church teaching, they represent the minimum level of moral living. Intentional violation of the Precepts, Ten Commandments or Church teaching is a grave matter, meaning a mortal sin.

  1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
    We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. This requires attending Mass, “and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.” It is the teaching of the Church that missing these Sundays and days of obligation constitutes a grave (mortal) sin.
  2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
    We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.”
  3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
    This “guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy” (One remains obliged to Precept #1, even if they are not able to receive Holy Communion).
  4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
    “The fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.” See below for more about fasting & abstinence.
  5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
    “The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.”

(These quotations are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its section about the Precepts of the Catholic Church (#2041-3).)

Go beyond the minimum!

Always remember: the Precepts of the Catholic Church are minimum levels of participation in the life of the Church. Out of love for Christ and a desire to advance in the spiritual life, you will normally try to do far more than they require.

Many people recommend that Catholics:

  • Attend Mass at least one more time a week. (Most Church parishes celebrate Mass every day of the year!)
  • Go to confession at least once a month, and find a regular confessor so he can give you better guidance.
  • Find a good spiritual director to give you sound guidance for growing in the spiritual life.
  • Receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at every Mass, if you meet the guidelines for reception (are free from mortal sin, etc.).
  • Make a habit of practicing penitential and charitable acts beyond those required by the precepts of the Catholic Church.
  • Contribute as much as possible to the material needs of the Church and the needy.

Also, being a public figure, it is important that you publicly disavow past or present behavior that contradicts the Ten Commandments and Church teaching. This allows those of whom you have the distinct capacity to inspire by your desire to live as a “Practicing Catholic,” to truly trust this desire of yours.

Finally, Mrs. Trump, we are all praying for you and your husband. Beginning on August 15 of 2016 (The Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption), we prayed a 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation. This ended just days before the election, on October 7 (The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary). Over 20,000 people participated. We believe Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, heard our prayer. We now have thousands of people praying a 54 Day Holy Face Novena for the protection of your husband and his administration.

We are all amazed by your faith, and we pray you will truly be God’s means for inspiring a multitude to return, as well, to being “Practicing Catholics.”

May our Blessed Mother and St. Melania intercede for you and your husband.

Yours in Christ,

Father Richard Heilman



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